Lessons

The Wisdom Within Each Moment


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Winter – first published 12-2-2015

Here we are again in the middle of winter. I have always considered winter as nothing more than a path to spring. I do enjoy the beautiful winter scenery – from inside my warm house. But participating in winter activities has never been one of my desires. I think it goes back to my childhood. Just like every kid, I became excited when the first snowflake fell. I wanted to go outside and play in the snow, build a snowman, sled, do all the things others seemed to enjoy. My mother, however had other ideas. She would resist for a time. Claiming it was too cold or too wet. She just didn’t want to take any risks.  After a while my pleading wore her down and she would begin to drag out the protective gear I was forced to wear. There were no down jackets or snow suits then. So my apparel would consist of layer upon layer of my usual clothes: multiple pairs of pants, shirts, gloves, scarves, hats, coats and then the dreaded rubber boots. By the time she was finished dressing me, I was exhausted and very, very hot. Of course I could barely move. I was awkwardly pushed out the door only to return within minutes since my restricted movements did not allow for much play and I was terribly uncomfortable. I swear I believe she planned it that way to keep me inside and out of harm’s way. Over the years, I came to the conclusion that going out in winter just wasn’t worth it. Sometimes I think we can be too well prepared and restricted. I think it may limit us in ways we never even imagine. Mother only wanted to keep me safe, but when is safe too safe? Do we layer ourselves with protections that limit our potential? If no one ever took any risks, what kind of a world would it be? I’m not sure of the answer of course, but I do wonder what it feels like to sled down a steep hill with the cold, snowy wind in my face and I don’t know how to build a snowman.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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Love Finds a Way – New Lessons

I have already written about our loving and giving cat, Lily. She leaves us presents of balls or other toys every time we leave the house, to find on our return. I never really expected more than what she already does for us, but Lily continues to amaze.

Of all the presents she leaves for us, she likes two particular balls best. These balls came out of a game long abandoned. One is purple and yellow and the other is green and yellow. She likes the purple one best. They are small and squishy enough for her to carry entirely in her mouth, but not inhibit the “song” she sings as she goes about her work. Even when we are only in the basement family room, we can hear her sort of half hum, half trill as she carefully places a ball on the kitchen rug or in the hall where we’ll find it as we go to bed. Often she’ll carry one downstairs and drop it (spit it out) at our feet.

A new element came into her life when we adopted a kitten, Oz. Oz plays with everything and he especially likes balls. He will bat at anything in his path, including Lily’s carefully placed balls. I admit it took us a few days to realize that Lily was no longer bringing or leaving gifts. We would find her balls in odd places all over the house. Oz. Poor Lily. We felt so bad. But what could we do? If Lily placed a ball, Oz batted it into another room. Finally one day the purple ball was completely gone. We looked for it, but it had just disappeared. Only Oz knew and he wasn’t telling!

No more gifts from Lily. We were really distraught. Lily had begun to stay upstairs in the evening by herself. She would sleep on the bed and although we would check on her regularly and encourage her to join us, she refused. After a few more days of this, we made an amazing discovery. We heard Lily singing! And when we checked on her, she was on the bed as always, but right beside her, tucked up close was the green and yellow ball! After that, there was a ball in the bed for us every night! What great joy that brought us. Lily had found a way (when we could not) of expressing her love. It took a couple of weeks for her to work it out, but she did.

Within days, the purple ball showed up. It was just out in the middle of the floor one day in plain view. Oz. So all was right with the world.

Lily came from a shelter. She was the last of a litter and no one had wanted her, so she was abandoned. When we met her over seven years ago, she was sick and not very appealing. Her nose was all crusty and her eyes were runny and sore. But we saw something there that cannot be explained. Something that compelled us to bring a sickly, unattractive, little kitten home.  Love always finds a way.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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The Quality of Christmas – published in “Lessons: The Wisdom Within Each Moment” 2012

Everyone worries about the quality of Christmas. They are afraid the economy or other unforeseen circumstances will put a damper on the festivities. But you know what I remember as the best holiday memories from the past? Every year as a child I practiced with the church choir for weeks. And then the Sunday before Christmas we performed our cantata with the chills and beauty of unpolished voices raised in the harmony of beautiful music. I remember the smell of the sack of oranges, apples and peanuts that were our treat after we performed. I remember gatherings of friends over the years – the faces have changed – but the coming together remains one of the true joys of the holiday season. I think about my first tree after I left my parents’ home. No money. No tinsel. Just two college students, some construction paper and lots of popcorn and laughter. I remember my daughter being discharged from the hospital on Christmas Day when she was eight years old after nearly dying from a ruptured appendix. No Christmas dinner that year. And oh how we didn’t mind. I think about a particularly difficult holiday meal with my family and coming home to find that my husband had cleaned the apartment from top to bottom and fixed a huge bowl of fresh strawberries – my favorite. So honestly I don’t think the economy or anything else enters into my holiday spirit at all. I don’t remember the gifts I’ve received over the years or the ones bought for others. I just know that every day is filled with blessings and why should the holiday season be any different?

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”


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The Toilet – New Lessons

Years ago, my first husband and I had a home built on property that he owned. It was very exciting to start from scratch and make every decision along the way. The builder was a man my parents knew from their church. We would meet with him, usually weekly, to sort out this and that, from door knobs to light fixtures and on and on. I was young and pretty particular about what I thought I wanted, so we butted heads more than once I’m afraid, but never more than over the toilet. The house had two and ½ baths. The basement toilet was easy. White would be fine. The main bathroom in the house, I was going to decorate in blues. A baby blue toilet was easy to find. But the bath off of the master bedroom was a different story. I wanted a black toilet. The master bedroom had a red/black shag carpet that ran through the main part of the house (looked better than it sounds). I wanted the bath to be black and white. I wanted a black toilet. The builder just laughed at me at. At that time, black toilets weren’t made by any company he did business with. I told him to keep looking. Every week he’d come back and say that he just could not find a black toilet. I’m sorry to say now, but I was becoming very unpleasant about the whole thing. I demanded a black toilet. Weeks went on and the house was near completion. The builder was avoiding me. Finally one day he told me he had found a black toilet. He’d have to drive about 100 miles to pick it up, and it would be more expensive than he’d estimated for that room, causing him to lose money on the deal.

It was in 1973 and I was just twenty years old. That is my only excuse. Oh, I got the black toilet I’d fought for, but less than fifteen years later, all those choices and decisions were left behind. Frankly I don’t believe I have ever thought about that toilet since, and more importantly how I treated that man. But karma is a funny thing. Just a couple of years ago I painted my present bathroom purple and white. I decided I’d like to have a purple toilet seat to match. For weeks I looked high and low and searched the internet as well, but one could not be found. I was puzzled that it was so hard to find. Never once did I think of the black toilet and what I put that poor man through. Finally I did find a purple seat, but it isn’t exactly what I wanted. I’ve never been happy with it and it will soon need to be replaced.

I put my foot up on that seat the other day to rub some lotion on my leg and swoosh! It all came back to me. The builder died a long time ago. I humbly whispered my apologies for my younger self. I can’t begin to imagine how I ever thought a toilet – or anything for that matter – was worth more than being a kind human being.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”


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Cereal Boxes (first published 6-16-15)

When I was a kid, the back of cereal boxes were filled with neat stuff you could order. These toys were depicted in an amazing advertisement layout that would tempt any child. I remember one time there was this marvelous periscope. It looked like it was right out of a submarine. With this device you could, see around corners, spy on your siblings (which is what immediately appealed to me) or pretend you were an international spy. I was all the time begging my mother for the quarter, or sometimes two that I would carefully tape to the order blank and send off to exotic places like Texas or Minnesota. Then I would wait for the promised four to six weeks delivery – a lifetime for a child. It was so exciting though, that wait. I just knew this time it would be something special, something that would change my life. I became a mailbox stalker. Then one day the usually beat up package would arrive. It was always smaller than I imagined it would be. But I’d rip it open with glee to find pretty much what my mother always said, a piece of junk. The periscope was flimsy pieces of cardboard and a fake mirror. It lasted about a day. All of my purchases ended up like that – soon discarded and forgotten. I kept ordering though, never discouraged by disappointment after disappointment. I think it was the anticipation that I really liked. In those four to six weeks I would dream up all kinds of scenarios my latest treasure would inspire. I still love to order things off the internet or from a catalog. Today false advertising is not allowed and most things arrive in a very short time. I appreciate that. But something seems to be missing.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”


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Oz – New Lessons

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My husband and I recently adopted a six month old Siamese kitten. One viewing of him on the humane society web page was all we needed to know he should be ours. We struggled a little with a name for him. After all, what you name an animal friend has a lasting influence on his or her life. We finally decided on Oz. Several people have asked why we chose that name.

The obvious association is with the movie, The Wizard of Oz of course. Oz was the name of a beautiful, magical, and sometimes scary world. The wizard, although given top billing, wasn’t the hero of the story, and neither was Dorothy, the girl from Kansas who got caught up in an incredible life journey. She was just trying to get back home after being displaced by a tornado. To give him credit, the Wizard tried to take Dorothy home in the end, but he also put her in perilous danger by sending her after the broomstick of the witch of the West. Yet Dorothy put all her faith in him, believing him to be her savior. Glenda, the good witch of the North cannot claim the title of rescuer either. She guided Dorothy toward her journey (“follow the yellow brick road”), woke her from the sleep of the poppies, and told her the truth at the end. But she also did not provide the wisdom for Dorothy to go home. Even though she knew it all along.

It was a Siamese cat who saved Dorothy. As the wizard is preparing to launch the hot air balloon which can take them home, the cat was among the well-wishers cheering them on. It leaped out of its mistress’s arms and began to run. Dorothy’s dog Toto, already in the gondola, jumps out and pursues the cat. Dorothy’s love for Toto causes her to follow him and she misses her ride. It is only then that Dorothy is given the answer that she needs. Her selfless act of rescuing Toto is the real magic. She tries to do this earlier in the movie, but she just isn’t ready yet to give unconditional love to another being. She let her anger and fear get in her way. Dorothy’s experiences, and her compassion for her fellow travelers, has changed and matured her and allowed her to grow. It was that one final act, the decision to save another, despite her own desires, which really saved her. The Siamese cat was the true Wizard of Oz.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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Thai’s Window (first published 8-9-15)

Scientists say that humans are smarter than cats. So I suppose it must be true. Some cats do exhibit an uncanny wisdom and of course cats are quite adept at training their humans, but humans have the capability to reason and understand that cats do not have. Take our cat, Thai, for example. Every night when we settle in to watch TV, Thai paces and meows until we open the basement window for him. He loves to sit high up on the cabinet and commune with the night creatures. This can occupy him for quite a long time. Invariably though he will leave his spot for a snack in the other room, returning after a few minutes to resume his post. While he’s gone, his sister Lily, who has been waiting for this opportunity, takes his spot. Thai is always surprised and outraged that she is there.  (Lily has reasoned that if she just waits patiently, she’ll get her turn at the window and then can claim it the rest of the night. Maybe she’s not really a cat.)
Although there is plenty of room for two cats at that window, Thai and Lily are not really into sharing. Lily finds her brother vulgar and disgusting and spits in his face if he gets too near. Once or twice they have shared the window for a minute or two but Thai eventually jumps down in frustration and he is beside himself with grief over losing his cherished place. I have tried showing Lily the pictures of she and Thai as babies, snuggled into the same bed together, but she claims it was some other kitten. Not her. You would think that after this same scenario happened dozens of times, Thai would learn it might be better to eat before taking up his nightly vigil. Or he would reason that something so important might be worth his full attention. Or even that something deserted could be lost. After all, humans would never make the same mistake. If something is important to us we give it our full undivided attention, never neglecting it or deserting it, even for a minute. We certainly do not expect something to still be there, after we’ve walked away from it.  I’m glad we’re so much smarter than cats.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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